5 essential WordPress plugins for blogs

Nov 2, 2014 by
5 essential WordPress plugins for blogs

Regardless of whether you’re blogging for fun or with commercial intentions, the first time you log into your own personalised WordPress set-up is a special moment. You’ve probably spent time brainstorming a bunch of topic ideas and can’t wait to get a few completed articles uploaded for the world to see.

PlugHowever, in order to maximise the chances of your articles getting read far and wide, it’s essential to optimise your blog for SEO, keep it looking professional and ensure that it continues to run efficiently.

Fortunately, there are numerous plugins to help you do just this! Scanning the vast directory of WordPress plugins can be daunting at first, and it’s hard to discern which plugins will actually benefit your blog. While it’s certainly worth doing your own research and trying out some new plugins, here are five essential plugins which are sure to help you get your blog off to the right start.

1) Yoast

On their homepage, Yoast describe their plugin in the following way: “Yoast WordPress SEO is the most complete SEO plugin available for WordPress. It offers everything you need to optimize your site.” While you might regard this to be promotional rhetoric, they’re actually pretty much spot on with their assessment. Out of all of Yoast’s features, the most beneficial is the ability to post SEO titles and meta descriptions. If you’re a newcomer to the wonderful world of SEO, the SEO title is the first thing that people will see in Google’s search results, whereas the meta description comes directly under the URL in Google’s searches and allows you to provide a summary of your article – both have a significance on organic search traffic. For a more definitive guide to Yoast’s features, please see this tutorial.

Stop spam2) Akismet

Spam is very unpleasant, both for you and for anyone reading your blog. If you’re new to WordPress you’ll probably be horrified at how quickly spammy comments start to accumulate right below all of your finely written articles. Fortunately, security pluginAkismet automatically filters out spammy comments and gives you multiple admin options to keep your blog protected from spam. Akismet is free although paid subscriptions are available for commercial sites.

3) Disable Comments

In addition to Akismet, you may find that comments at the end of your blog aren’t for you (spam or otherwise), in which case you might want to consider downloading the plugin Disable Comments to remove comments from your blog completely. Comments versus no comments is a debate that continues to rage, with convincing arguments for both – so before deciding to do away with comments completely, make sure that it’s the right choice for your specific situation.

4) Redirection

404 errors occur when the page a visitor is trying to load is not found. This can often occur when a visitor arrives at your site via a hyperlink but due to a directory restructure or simple bit of renaming, the page is no longer available on its original address. 404 errors look really unprofessional and can lead to visitors clicking away from your site if they aren’t redirected to some relevant content (such as your homepage).

Fortunately, the Redirection plugin allows you to do just this, tying up loose ends and providing you with a full log for all redirected URLS. For pages that never existed, you can just come up with a really outrageous 404 page to keep your visitors amused!

5) Digg Digg

Digg Digg is probably the easiest method for integrating social media into your blog, allowing people to share your content to their personal networks with the click of a button. The plugin displays a user-friendly floating toolbar which supports all the popular social media platforms, including: Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr and Pinterest.


While it’s easy to get caught in paralysis when faced with the wide range of plugins available to you (all with their purported unique benefits), it’s important to remember the fundamentals of what makes a great blog – including how posts are structured and presented. Certainly install the essential plugins and add new ones to your arsenal as and when necessary, but don’t forget that content will always be your cornerstone. It’s fun to play around with the layout of your blog and check out the different functionalities available, just don’t let it distract you from pouring in the hours required to generate an abundance of high quality content necessary for establishing a solid readership.

To quote content marketing specialist Tracy Gold:

“As long as your posts are useful, readers will come back for more.”

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